WEST DES MOINES, IA – A leading retail pharmacy chain has teamed with one of the nation’s largest privately-owned specialty pharmacies to form a new company that will provide more accessible services for patients dealing with complex and chronic health conditions.
The new company, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, is a joint venture between Hy-Vee, Inc. of West Des Moines, IA and Amber Pharmacy of Omaha, NE to offer specialty pharmacy services through Hy-Vee’s retail stores. Hy-Vee and Amber officials say the collaboration is the first of its kind in the industry.
“Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions builds a bridge between two different segments of the pharmacy business,” said Bob Egeland, vice president of pharmacy operations for Hy-Vee. “We’re bringing together experts from retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacy to offer more convenient, more personalized service for patients with complex health care needs.”
Bill Kaplan, Jr., chief operating officer of Amber Pharmacy said Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions is unique because it provides “true continuity of care” for patients who are accustomed to dealing with different pharmacy providers in different locations.
“Because Hy-Vee and Amber operate on a common platform, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will be able to handle all of a patient’s pharmacy needs through one point of contact – the Hy-Vee pharmacist,” Kaplan said. “Medication therapy management services can take place in a face-to-face setting, rather than on the phone or through the mail, and patients will have access to diet and nutrition services offered in Hy-Vee stores. It’s a personalized, whole-health approach to specialty pharmacy that represents a major departure from the traditional care model.”
Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will support a wide range of complex, chronic conditions including oncology, blood disorders, Crohn’s disease, growth hormone, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic conditions. Because medications for these conditions are injected, infused, high-cost, or otherwise difficult to manage, most retail pharmacies refer patients to one of a few specialty pharmacy providers that have expertise in this area. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will help patients manage these conditions by assigning a health care team – an enrollment specialist, pharmacist, patient care coordinator, and billing coordinator – to develop an individualized plan for the patient’s clinical care, insurance and financial administrative assistance, educational materials and resources, and follow-up care. This comprehensive approach allows patients to obtain all their medications and services from one source, resulting in greater adherence to the prescribed therapy, improved health, and faster recovery.
Specialty pharmacy is a growing sector of the pharmacy business. In 2003, prescriptions in this category made up about five percent of total prescriptions filled; by 2007, that figure had doubled to 10 percent, and it is expected to double again to 20 percent by 2011. Medications to treat complex, chronic health conditions often cost thousands of dollars per patient, per year and require specialized handling and adherence to treatment plans.
Some additional services offered by Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions include:
- One-stop shopping for all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
- Specialty medications can be picked up at Hy-Vee Pharmacies or delivered directly to the customer’s home, office, or location of choice.
- Calls to Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions are answered by a friendly, professional personal care coordinator – not an automated system.
- A pharmacist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions or concerns.
Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions is headquartered in Omaha and eventually will provide services to customers in the eight states in which Hy-Vee operates – Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota. Hy-Vee and Amber Pharmacy have assembled a marketing team to introduce the company to health care providers, employers and managed care plans in key markets. Officials with both companies say the initial rollout has been a success, and they are enthusiastic about the possibilities inherent in their joint venture.
“This partnership is an outstanding match because of the synergies between Amber and Hy-Vee in terms of our corporate vision, core values, focus on service and commitment to high quality clinical care,” said Kaplan. “We’re looking forward to a long and productive working relationship.”
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 228 retail stores in eight Midwestern states. For 2009 the company recorded total sales of $6.4 billion, ranking it among the top 30 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States. In 2009 Hy-Vee’s 226 retail pharmacy locations earned the Exemplary Provider Accreditation from The Compliance Team, one of 11 approved Medicare accrediting bodies for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and/or Supplies (DMEPOS). In a 2008 study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, Hy-Vee ranked highest in pharmacy customer satisfaction among Midwest supermarket companies.
About Amber Pharmacy:
Family-owned Amber Pharmacy is one of the nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacies. For nearly 15 years, Amber Pharmacy has been providing comprehensive specialized services and medications for complex and chronic health conditions. Amber Pharmacy works with more than 170 transplant programs and manages approximately 15 percent of all transplant prescriptions dispensed in the United States. In 2009 the company received accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. (ACHC) for specialized pharmacy services. Headquartered in Omaha, NE, Amber Pharmacy also has locations in Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia.